The 12-Step program represents a spiritual remedy, and one that is equal or greater than the power of alcohol itself. The program teaches participants to surrender their ego to a higher power—in this case God; as everyone interprets the higher power from the basis of their own understanding.
Facing the fact there is a drug or alcohol addiction is the first and most important step to sobriety. Help arrives once a person believes there is help outside oneself. They also have to be willing to utilize the help. The help can be in the form of a therapist, program, or someone willing to sponsor their rehab. Unfortunately, it takes some people years to face the reality of their problem.
With the 12-Step recovery program, the addict gains an understanding how they have become powerless under drugs or alcohol. Codependents, those who unknowingly support and encourage the addict, begin to understand their own inability to control the addict. The second state is where the user admits their problem is life-threatening. The third stage teaches the patient their problem actually lies in their own thoughts and behaviors.
The Challenges of Surrendering
When a person admits to being powerless, it leaves a void that was formally filled with a great deal of physical and mental activity exerted to try and control the addiction. At this stage, the addict may feel a sense of loss, anger, depression, fear, and even boredom. There may also be a feeling of emptiness that was covered over by the addiction. It can bring about a feeling of hopelessness knowing there is something in one’s life they have absolutely no control over. The situation becomes a day-by-day thing to endure.
Letting Go of the Ego
As mentioned, there is a step is to master where one believes there is a power beyond oneself that can help restore their life and sanity. One’s reality has to change to get in line with this concept. God is the higher power, or, the support can be viewed as coming from a sponsor, support group, therapist, or a counseling or therapy process. One’s ego has to give up trying to control the situation, and the addict has to trust the Power and growth process.
Being Aware of One’s Self
One has to become aware of their own dysfunctional behavior, and that requires becoming aware of who they are with respect to their addiction. It requires practice in being able to observe your own self, and then to learn how to exercise restraint over habits that are destructive and addictive. This includes an examination of deeds and words.
The 12-step program is administered after the addict has passed through detox. Detox can be most challenging, because the body has built up a tolerance for a substance it continually needs. Withdrawal symptoms can be harsh, even deadly if not supervised in a professional environment.
The 12-step program works, even if a person may not have a tradition faith in a higher power. The program’s structure can help anyone willing to try something that is proven. It may take bravery, just like admitting there is an addiction and checking into rehab.
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